Why Kristen Stewart Was Perfect For Bella, According To Twilight's Director

Kristen Stewart as Bella

It hardly seems possible that 10 years have passed since Catherine Hardwicke brought lusty, romanticized vampires to life in the mossy Pacific Northwest in the genre-defining Twilight. From the moment Twilight established Bella and Edward as star-crossed lovers for a new generation seeking their own Romeo and Juliet, these characters have remained fixtures in the global lexicon, as much a part of the pop-culture landscape as the Transformers, Star Wars or Scooby-Doo. In celebration of the 10-year anniversary of Hardwicke's series-launching installment, the director hopped on the phone with CinemaBlend to discuss her pivotal casting, opening up to us about the moment she knew Kristen Stewart was destined to be her on-screen Bella. Hardwicke recalls:

I had seen the amazing performance that Kristen did in an early cut of Into the Wild. And I saw her sitting down in that bed in the trailer, looking at Emile Hirsch with such longing in her eyes. I was just like, 'Okay, she is AWESOME! She is amazing. She can really show, without going too far, in a realistic way that she wants to be with this person and not overdo it and just feel so grounded, so powerful... her emotions.' So I immediately said that I wanted to get on a plane. She was shooting a movie called Adventureland. So, 'I need to go to Pittsburgh! I need to go meet her, and be sure that I feel that we can work together in person' and all of that. Which they let me do.

That was one half of the iconic duo found at the heart of Stephenie Meyer's best-selling novels. Though names like Jennifer Lawrence and Lily Collins auditioned for the part of Bella, Kristen Stewart won Catherine Hardwicke over. But who would be her Edward? The director, looking back on the movie 10 years after the fact, remembered the process of discovering Robert Pattinson, saying:

The big challenge was 'okay, what's going to be the chemistry?' Because every guy that I met looked like they could believably still be in high school. They looked almost like, kind of like they should be in high school. They were cute... but they didn't look like underworld, you know, like -- I could believe that this was somebody literally that had been around, and had a very intense intellectual life for a hundred years. I just didn't feel that from these other guys. But from Rob, when he flew out and we did the chemistry reads with Kristen, you could feel it with him. Because he is a beautiful soul, is a wonderful musician. He sounds like an old jazz, blues singer, you know? He's amazing. And [he has a] very wide range of interests, as we can see from what he's been getting into. He's a very unique person.

Twilight will celebrate its 10-year anniversary with a very special return to the big screen. Fathom Events and Lionsgate's Summit Entertainment are inviting fans to return to Forks, Washington, when Twilight comes back to movie theaters nationwide this October. Catherine Hardwicke has recorded an introduction, with an exclusive sneak peek of the special feature "Twilight Tour...10 Years Later," from the upcoming Twilight 4K Ultra HD home entertainment release, available October 23.

Twilight will play in more than 450 movie theaters nationwide Sunday, October 21, and Tuesday, October 23, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. (local time). Tickets for the 10th-anniversary screenings can be purchased online at www.FathomEvents.com or at participating theater box offices.

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. He's frequently found on Twitter at @Sean_OConnell. ReelBlend cohost. A movie junkie who's Infatuated with comic-book films. Helped get the Snyder Cut released, then wrote a book about it.